Decline Push-Ups: How to Improve Your Push-Up Game

Push-ups are a great way to build strength and endurance in your chest, shoulders, and triceps. However, many people struggle to see results with the traditional push-up after some time. 

Here’s the solution:

If you want to take your push-up game to the next level, try decline push-ups. 

Decline push-ups are a more challenging variation of the standard push-up that will work your muscles harder and help you achieve better results. This blog post will discuss how to do decline push-ups correctly and how they can help improve your overall fitness.

Keep scrolling below.

How to Master Them

Decline push-ups are a great way to really work your chest and triceps. 

Here’s how to do them: 

  1. Find something elevated – a couch, chair, table, or even a sturdy toy box will do the trick. 
  2. Place your hands on the ground shoulder-width apart. 
  3. Position your feet on the elevated surface so that your body forms a straight line from head to toe. 
  4. Bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest is just above the ground. 
  5. Pause for a moment, then push yourself back to the starting position. 

Remember: Keep your core engaged throughout the entire exercise. 

Start with three sets of ten reps and work your way up from there. Before you know it, you’ll be a decline push-up pro!

Mistakes to Avoid

how to do decline push ups

Doing decline push-ups is not as easy as it sounds. You have to be very wary of not making the mistakes below:

  • Sagging your hips: This is a common mistake people make when doing decline push-ups. Remember to keep your body in a straight line from head to toe throughout the entire exercise. Otherwise, you can put too much pressure on your lumbar spine and get injured.
  • Bouncing off the ground: Bouncing off the ground decreases the muscle work decline push-ups are meant to provide. Lower yourself slowly and under control, then press back equally slowly.
  • Keeping your hands too much in front or the back: This position puts extra stress on your shoulders, elbows, and wrists, increasing your risk of injury.
  • Lifting your butt to heaven: This position defeats the purpose of a decline push-up, making it too easy for your chest, triceps, and core. Make sure there’s always a straight line from your feet to your shoulders to reap the whole range of decline push-up benefits. To do that, keep your core engaged and your legs tight.

Pro Tips

muscles worked by decline push-ups

Decline push-ups are scalable push-up variations, meaning you can always make them harder (or easier). 

If you need more of a challenge: 

  • Place your feet on two separate objects instead of just one. The reason is to create more of a challenge for your upper body and core.
  • Try a higher plyo box to put your feet on. This variation’s purpose is to increase the force exercised on your upper body.
  • Don a weighted vest. Increasing the weight that your upper body has to lift means better-sculpted muscles.
  • Try doing decline push-ups with one arm. This will force your stabilizing muscles to work even harder and will really test your strength and endurance.

If you need less of a challenge:

  • Try decline push-ups from your knees. This variation is excellent for those who want to get used to the decline push-up movement before trying it from their toes.
  • Elevate your feet less. A lower decline will make this exercise easier on your body while still providing some chest and triceps work.
  • Wear a resistance band above your elbows. This way, you will stabilize your upper body more and increase your range of motion.


decline push-ups benefits

Doing decline push-ups comes with a wide range of benefits:

  • Injury prevention: Decline push-ups help strengthen the stabilizing muscles around your shoulder blades and scapula, thus preventing injuries such as rotator cuff tears.
  • Improved shoulder mobility: Decline push-ups also help improve the range of motion in your shoulders. The reason is that decline push-ups force your shoulder blades to move through a greater range of motion than regular push-ups do.
  • More muscle definition: Decline push-ups allow you to overcome strength-training plateaus and sculpt your muscles efficiently.
  • More motivation: Knowing that decline push-ups are more challenging than regular push-ups can give you the extra motivation you need to stay on track with your fitness goals.
  • Increased endurance: These push-ups help improve your muscular endurance, meaning you’ll be able to do more decline push-ups (and regular push-ups) over time without getting as tired.
  • Improved cardiovascular health: Decline push-ups are a great way to get your heart rate up and improve your cardiovascular health.

Muscles Worked

Decline push-ups work similar muscles to regular push-ups. However, you can notice some significant differences.

  • Improved chest and triceps definition: This decline push-up variation hits your upper body muscles – namely, your chest, shoulders, and triceps – much harder than regular push-ups. As a result, you’ll see improved muscle definition in these areas, even if you’re doing fewer push-ups.
  • Stronger core: Since decline push-ups force you to keep your body in a straight line, they’re also great for working your core muscles. A strong core is essential for good posture, balance, and stability.
  • More shoulder impact: Decline push-ups also place more emphasis on your shoulders than regular push-ups do. As a result, you can expect improved strength and definition in your shoulders with a decline push-up training.
  • Glutes and legs: Elevating your legs during decline push-ups also forces your glutes and legs to work harder. The result is toning your glutes and legs better than a traditional push-up.


Alternatives to decline push-ups can be categorized into bodyweight exercises and gym machines you can use.

Bodyweight exercises that work similar muscles include:

Gym machines that work similar muscles include: 

  • Pec deck machine: Best for chest
  • Lat pull-down machine: Best for upper back and shoulders
  • Cable flies: Best for your upper back and chest
  • Spin bikes: Best for total body muscle tone and fat-burn
  • Rowing machines: Best for whole body muscle building

Wrap Up

Decline push-ups are a great way to improve your upper body strength and definition. They also prevent injuries, improve shoulder mobility, and increase muscular endurance. 

So if you’re looking for a new challenge, give decline push-ups a try.

You’ll thank us later.

John Claxton

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